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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 2 July 2018

Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Times has discussed two recent judgments which show that the British courts have little tolerance for the use of judicial review for overtly political purposes around Brexit.
  2. The House of Commons Library has published a paper considering the implications for Scotland of leaving the EU.
  3. A challenge against the legality of the EU’s Brexit negotiations brought by a 97-year-old British veteran is to be heard by five judges at the ECJ this week arguing that the 2016 referendum was discriminatory and illegal because more than 1 million other British expatriates were denied a vote.
  4. Stephen Tierney discusses the fact that, at the same time as Parliament prepares to ‘take back control’ from Brussels, the executive is in fact accruing to itself further controlover the legislative process.
  5. The Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Finance Mark Drakeford and the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Relations Michael Russell have written a joint letter to the UK’s Brexit Minister David Lidington highlighting concerns over the involvement of devolved administrations in developing the UK’s White Paper on Brexit.
  6. For the UK Constitutional Law Association, Anurag Deb has analysed the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, s 10, considering its implications for the Irish border.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The European Council has published further conclusions on the legal text of the withdrawal agreement, but has highlighted that agreement on significant aspects, such as the territorial application of the agreement, is still needed. Meanwhile the Prime Minister delivered a statement in Parliament discussing the June European Council.
  2. Jacob Rees-Mogg, writing in The Telegraph, has warned Theresa May that she must deliver on her Brexit promises or face a rebellion from within her own party, stating that Conservative MPs would vote against the final withdrawal agreement if the UK does not make a clean break from the EU. However this intervention has drawn the criticism of the Tory MPs Sir Alan Duncan and Alistair Burt.
  3. Theresa May is reportedly facing a full-scale revolt by Brexit-backing ministers as the Cabinet meets at Chequers to finally sign off the Government’s approach to quitting the EU. Equally, a row has broken out after a leaked paper suggested Theresa May’s customs plan could thwart a US trade deal. The Financial TimesIllustration of the week shows a warring Cabinet at Chequers.
  4. David Davis has resigned as Brexit Secretary in a move that PoliticsHome reports has dealt an “enormous blow” to Theresa May’s authority.
  5. In setting out the questions the Brexit white paper needs to answer, for the Institute for Government Jill Rutter has argued that, if it is to be worth the wait, it must give UK negotiators a clear mandate, not just more options.
  6. Andrew Duff of the European Policy Centre has published a seven page analysis of the Government’s draft Brexit white paper. Meanwhile Michel Barnier has stated that Brussels is ready to change its Brexit offer to the UK if Theresa May’s Government softens its ‘red lines’. According to the Financial Times, David Davis has held only four hours of talks with his opposite number Michel Barnier this year, with EU leaders citing lack of engagement for the slow progress of negotiations.
  7. Top UK Government officials are starting to flesh out plans for another overhaul of the civil service after the UK leaves the EU, recognising the need to transform some ministries to meet post-Brexit challenges.
  8. A Freedom of Information request has shown that less than 6% of MPs and peers have asked to see the Brexit impact papers, which were released under tight security after a House of Commons battle with Brexit secretary David Davis.
  9. In one of the bluntest internal criticisms of the EU’s Brexit negotiating strategy, Horst Seehober, Germany’s interior minister, has warned that the EU’s dogmatic approach will hamper reaching an ‘unlimited’ security deal with Britain which will put lives at risk.
  10. In The Times Brief, Julian Acratopulo has argued that the English court system needs to keep up with modern society to prevent rival European courts taking advantage of the Brexit confusion.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Michael Gove reportedly physically tore up a document detailing Theresa May’s preferred customs partnership proposal. Meanwhile Theresa May is to present a new post-Brexit customs plan to her cabinet this week, which Downing Street has said is to offer the best of both worlds, though she is reportedly keeping her cabinet in the dark over the plan. Robert Peston has laid out what Theresa May will ask her Cabinet to agree. However, Brexiteers have reportedly condemned the Prime Minister’s plan to break the deadlock over Britain’s future customs relationship with the EU.
  2. 42 signatories from the Professional and Business Services Council have written to Theresa May with a list of requirements they say are essential to preserve the £188bn industry with its 4.6m jobs and “keep the wheels of the British economy turning”.
  3. Two commentators in the Financial Times have discussed the ‘Jersey option’ whereby the UK asks for a customs union with the EU and accepts its regulation of good whilst rejecting single market rules on services and freedom of movement. Alan Beattie has argued that this is not a good option whereas Martin Sandbu has argued that, if the UK asks in earnest, this model is the best available compromise.
  4. For the UKTPO, L. Alan Winters CB has written an article arguing that all three options discussed for the UK’s trade relationship with the EU – the Jersey option, the Prime Minister’s third way, and unilateral free trade – share the same flaw in ignoring 80% of the British economy – the services sector.
  5. Environment Secretary Michael Gove has published the Government’s fisheries white paper, spelling out how the UK plans to ‘take back control’ of its waters post-Brexit.
  6. Two of the biggest trading groups headquartered in the UK – Cboe Europe and TP ICAP – are planning to set up bases in Amsterdam and Paris showing that firms in the City are becoming increasingly concerned about Britain crashing out of the EU next year. Meanwhile the Financial Times reports that other UK companies are also preparing EU bases in the lead-up to Brexit. Meanwhile Jaguar Land Rover has warned that 40,000 jobs could be at risk over Brexit uncertainty, quoting many figures in an FT interview.
  7. Philip Hammond is expected to warn his cabinet colleagues that a Canada-style trade deal of the kind championed by Brexiters would hit jobs, trade and growth, when he briefs ministers at Chequers on Friday.
  8. The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report considering the distributional consequences across the UK of leaving the EU.
  9. The Treasury Select Committee has published three letters on the publication of Brexit impact analysis, addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the Bank of England.
  10. David Davis has warned Theresa May that her latest Brexit plan is unworkable in a bid to avert a furious Cabinet clash, it has been reported.
  11. Conservative business minister Richard Harrington has broken ranks with Theresa May to declare that crashing out of the EU without a Brexit deal would be “completely disastrous” for business.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The Financial Times has discussed the division in the City of London on post-Brexit regulation.

Data Protection

The Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a report on data flows and data protection post-Brexit.

Health

The NHS is developing contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit to ensure it continues to have access to vital medicines and equipment.

Immigration

Soaring numbers of Britons have acquired EU citizenship since the Brexit referendum according to official figures.

Charities have warned that Roma living in the UK are at risk of deportation following Brexit as many will be unable to provide the necessary documentation to be granted settled status.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The EU has been accused of warning off British development organisations from involvement in its humanitarian aid programmes by claiming they would lose all funding in the event of the a no-deal Brexit.

Election

The Electoral Commission is expected to find that Vote Leave, the official campaign to take Britain out of the EU, broke rules around election spending.

Environment

The European Parliament has published a study summarising the discussions which took place during the workshop on Brexit and Energy Policy

In The Times, Stanley Johnson has argued that Brexit is not the end for the environment.

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has considered the Brexit preparations of the Office for Nuclear Regulation.